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President Trump Supports Brett Kavanaugh and Looks Forward To The Investigation

In another development Friday, a high school friend of Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, said he was willing to cooperate with any FBI investigation.

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Donald Trump
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

Amid a new investigation of his Supreme Court nominee, U.S. President Donald Trump maintained his support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday, saying that “hopefully, at the conclusion, everything will be fine.”

Trump, speaking to reporters on the White House South Lawn prior to his departure for a political rally in nearby West Virginia, noted that the FBI “is all over, talking to everybody,” including women who have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, and “I would expect it’s going to turn out very well for the judge.”

The president also accused opposition Democrats of acting terribly and dishonestly during the Kavanaugh confirmation process. He expressed anger about the leak of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation against Kavanaugh, which she sent to a congresswoman but had previously requested remain confidential.

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, before leaving for Wheeling, W.Va. VOA

Despite what Trump told reporters, news reports indicated the White House might be limiting the scope of the FBI’s investigation — such as not permitting scrutiny of the claims of another woman, Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct at parties while he was a prep school student.

Trump administration officials also denied they were restricting areas of inquiry.

“The scope and duration has been set by the Senate,” according to a statement by White House spokesman Raj Shah. “The White House is letting FBI agents do what they are trained to do.”

News reports said the FBI had contacted Deborah Ramirez, the second of Kavanaugh’s accusers. The Associated Press reported that Ramirez’s lawyer, John Clune, said she had agreed to cooperate with agents.

Ramirez alleged in a report published Sept. 23 by The New Yorker magazine that Kavanaugh exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party and shoved his penis in her face, forcing her to touch it while pushing him away. She said the the assault occurred during the 1983-84 school year at Yale University, where they both were students.

Donald Trump
Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sept. 27, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington.. VOA

The FBI was also following up on accusations by Ford, the first woman who accused Kavanaugh. Her story dated to 1982, when they were teenagers. She said he sexually assaulted her at a gathering at a home in suburban Washington. Kavanaugh has angrily denied the allegation.

Both told their stories to the Senate Judiciary Committee separately Thursday in lengthy hearings.

Trump ordered the new investigation Friday at the request of the Judiciary Committee. The consent for a fresh probe was a concession by the Trump administration and Republicans, who had strongly contended that Kavanaugh was thoroughly vetted numerous times.

The Judiciary Committee voted Friday to send Kavanaugh’s nomination for the Supreme Court to the full Senate after securing a party-line vote in favor of the nod, but Arizona Republican Jeff Flake requested a delay in the floor vote and the additional investigation.

“This country is being ripped apart here, and we’ve got to make sure that we do due diligence,” Flake said.

Another Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said Friday that she agreed with Flake’s call for additional FBI investigation.

Donald Trump
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh meets with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

Republicans hold a slim 51-49 margin in the Senate. Kavanaugh needs at least 50 votes to have his nomination confirmed. Vice President Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote if the Senate was evenly split. If all Democrats vote against Kavanaugh, two Republicans would have to do the same to block his confirmation.

Kavanaugh said in a statement released by the White House that he would continue to cooperate with the FBI and the Senate.

Also Read: Christine Ford Testifies Against Brett Kavanaugh; Decision Pending

“Throughout this process, I’ve been interviewed by the FBI, I’ve done a number of ‘background’ calls directly with the Senate, and yesterday, I answered questions under oath about every topic the senators and their counsel asked me. I’ve done everything they have requested and will continue to cooperate,” he said.

In another development Friday, a high school friend of Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, said he was willing to cooperate with any FBI investigation. Judge is likely to figure prominently in any inquiry by the FBI, because Ford contends he was present when Kavanaugh assaulted her at the suburban Washington party. Judge has denied being at any party with Ford when an attack took place. (VOA)

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Reasons For Bigger Houses In America

Here's why houses are getting bigger in America

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Houses
Americans prefer houses that have big and open spaces in them. Pixabay

BY DORA MEKOUAR

Americans have long been drawn to big, open spaces, so perhaps it’s no surprise that houses built in the United States are among the most expansive on the planet.

And they keep getting bigger.

The size of the average house has more than doubled since the 1950s. In 2019, the average size of a new single-family home was 240 square meters (2,584 square feet), according to the National Association of Homebuilders.

Deeply held feelings about one’s home may be rooted in America’s homesteading, pioneering past.

“The appeal of the house for Americans, going back into the 20th century, was that it signified autonomy. You know, every home is a castle,” says Louis Hyman, an economic historian and assistant professor at Cornell University. “So, it has these echoes of signifying independence and achievement.”

The federal government has pushed the idea that a nation of homeowners is ideal.

The 1934 establishment of the Federal Housing Administration revolutionized home ownership. By creating the financial mortgaging system that Americans still use today, the FHA made home buying more accessible for millions of people. At the time, most Americans rented. Homeownership stood at 40% in 1934. By 2001, the figure had risen to 68%.

In the 1940s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt equated homeownership with citizenship, saying that a “nation of homeowners, of people who own a real share in their own land, is unconquerable.”

Today, the homeownership rate in the United States stands at around 65%.

Houses
The average newly built house is now twice as big as the average new home in 1945. Pixabay

The ability to invest in their homes has helped mask economic stagnation for many Americans. Although unemployment is near a record low, real wages — the number of goods and services that can be bought with money earned — haven’t budged in decades for U.S. workers.

“As Americans find that their wages are stagnating after the 1970s, they’re able to make money by investing in houses,” Hyman says. “The houses become a way for average Americans to get financial leverage, which can multiply their returns. There’s no other way for Americans to get access to financial leverage outside of houses. You can’t do it in the stock market if you’re just a normal person, and so this is a way to basically speculate in housing.”

For some Americans, owning a big home is a status symbol, physical proof that they’ve succeeded in life.

“This kind of classical example of the big suburban home has been a very powerful idea for many, many decades now,” says architectural historian William Richards. “People sometimes want specific rooms that have specific functions —a mud room; everybody gets their own bedroom; there’s no bunking up; a dedicated laundry room.”

And spacious houses are more financially attainable than they used to be.

Houses
For many Americans, a large home is not only a status symbol, but also an investment. Pixabay

“In the design and construction, there are greater efficiencies now for all sorts of reasons so that it’s less expensive to build a bigger house now,” Richards says.

But do bigger houses, sometimes called McMansions, make people happier? Not according to a recent paper that Clément Bellet, now an adjunct professor at INSEAD, a European business school, wrote as a postdoctoral fellow.

“Despite a major upscaling of single-family houses since 1980, house satisfaction has remained steady in American suburbs,” Bellet writes in the report.

Also Read- Usage of Anti-Inflammatory Drugs to Curb Symptoms of Depression, still Controversial

People living in larger houses, however, do tend to be more satisfied with their property, according to Bellet, but that satisfaction plunges when even more massive houses are built nearby. (VOA)